Crop experts warn that by Thanksgiving there may be a significant shortage in canned pumpkin, and urge people to stock up immediately if they want to enjoy pumpkin pies this year.
Although there are no fears regarding the availability of pumpkin for Halloween, it appears that there aren’t enough products to last until Thanksgiving, on November 26.
“I would not wait until November 20. I’d buy it whenever it comes to the store”, recommended professor Mohammad Babadoost, of the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois .
The state with the highest production of pumpkins in the country is Illinois. Locals take such pride in this business that back in August Governor Bruce Rauner actually declared pumpkin pie the official pie in the Prairie State.
Nevertheless, it appears that this year pumpkin pie may become more of an elusive luxury, since the harvest is one third smaller than the years before. Approximately 90% of the pumpkin yield in the U.S. originates from within a 90-mile radius of Peoria, but according to farmers the harvest has been greatly damaged by heavy rainfall.
Jane Moran, owner of Moran’s Orchard in Neoga, has actually tried to salvage the inundated crop land by planting the pumpkins all over again, but to no avail. Eventually, the ranchers have had to buy pumpkins at wholesale produce auctions twice a week. As Moran conceded, “When you deal with Mother Nature, you just have to take it and go on”.
However, major canned-pumpkin manufacturer Libby is trying to appease spirits by stating that there will be enough products to last for the entire fall. The food company has been producing pumpkin tins at a processing plant in the heart of Illinois ever since 1929.
The village of Morton, where the factory is located, has actually been nicknamed “Pumpkin Capital of the World” and even has an annual Pumpkin Festival. According to representatives of the canned-pumpkin maker, the situation is under control and the stock is carefully managed, by allocating batches to retailers.
Even with these encouragements, Libby’s corporate and brand affairs director Roz O’Hearn admitted that once the remaining cans from the 2015 harvest are shipped, there will be no more products left until the next yield of 2016.
A similar crisis affected Libby’s in 2009, when heavy rains destroyed the crop, leaving the fields full of rotting gourds. This raised panic among consumers, causing them to hoard the remaining cans in anticipation of the holidays. It appears now a similar sequence of events will follow, unless people decide to make pumpkin pie from scratch without resorting to canned fillings.
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